The mornings are cool and dark, we’ve had recent storms and showers, and Katy has started The Great Wardrobe Switcheroo. Summer time ends this weekend so it’s past time to think about my 2017 Signature Winter Wardrobe Plan.
My average week still consists of:
Up until this point, I have been wearing track pants and t-shirts and saving my “proper” clothes for when I go back to work (for someone else). But my track pant uniform is looking disreputable, I’m tired of looking like a shlumpadinka, and I work from home, so I’m ready to lift my game for winter 2017.
Following the plan I laid out in Build Your Signature Wardrobe, we can narrow our options until we get to something that works just for us.
I’ve bought some bits and pieces this year, and have 79% of my annual budget remaining. I have a full complement of outerwear (coats, hats, gloves, scarfs and boots), but I don’t have much in the way of warm base layers and next to nothing in mid layers. As I more or less need to get everything, I’m going to push the boat out and permit myself to spend up to $1,000 on winter clothes.
As I now have kidney failure anaemia again, I feel cold all the time (even in summer) so I can’t rely on climate control to keep me warm. I need to buy clothes that will keep me warm when “normal” people are comfortable with the ambient conditions.
Wool and silk are warm insulators and also wick perspiration away. Some technical fleeces and microfibres have similar properties, so it will be worth looking at those as well.
In the early twentieth-century, women would layer with thick stockings, baselayers like camisoles and petticoats or slips, their day dresses and top with cardigans. When I was a child my mother dressed me more or less the same, but with jumper/petticoat dresses and turtlenecks. I’ll be attempting to copy this approach.
Dark colours absorb more heat from the sun than light, and aside from golden labrador hair are effective at concealing spills and stains. I’ll focus on dark dresses and contrast them with brighter layers in the fiery red, orange and yellows I adopted for summer.
It really doesn’t help that I just finished reading Around the World with Auntie Mame, and am filled with visions of emerald green silk crepe and so on.
Starting with the base layers, I need either some long johns or thick tights and some camisoles. I could get by with one to wear and one in the wash, but I think I should get a spare as well for those weeks where things just don’t seem to dry.
Similar to summer I need:
- 3 work outfits
- 1 chore outfit
- 1 errand outfit
- 1 social outfit
My existing winter wardrobe is both better and worse than I thought:
- two pairs of black jeans (one nearing exhaustion) and one pair of blue
- black woven wool skirt with lace flowers sewn on
- black flannel tartan button down shirt
- two knitted wool tunics; navy blue and hot pink
- five knitted wool cardigans (street clothes); black, red, royal blue, hot pink, navy blue fair isle
- two chunky wool supplemented with dog hair cable knit cardigans (house clothes); red and navy
- three vests: black fleece (bought for an unexpected cold snap during my recent emergency trip), polyester lined blue down that doesn’t wick moisture away and is uncomfortable to wear (mistake), and blue knitted wool that needs de-pilling
- black blazer that is worn, ill-fitting, and needs replacing
I also discovered a set of “nude” silk long johns and another of black merino that I wore while I was on dialysis, plus some thick tights. (Bonus!)
My yard work outfit will work for winter as well because it is a heavy cotton drill and cutting up trees etc. is hot work. I can supplement it with long johns if I need to. My current jeans/tunic errand outfit can be replicated including long johns and a wool tunic, or a linen tunic for that matter, and this could also be a casual social outfit.
Which brings me back to three work outfits. I could do jeans and a tunic, but headology being what it is, I don’t feel like I am working. Which is where the jumper/petticoat dress comes in.
As it turns out, I could get by with what I have, but I’d like another set of long johns, two dresses, a pencil skirt and to replace the blazer.
I haven’t seen anything I wanted to buy during my desultory snoops around the stores. Hopefully, there is more to come. But just in case, I’ve prioritised my purchases:
- Long Johns: snuggly warm, ideally white wool or silk, say $150
- Dress(es): the right dress would meet all my needs, and therefore get a lot of wear. However, I haven’t seen any in store, which may mean I need to have them made and could probably only afford one; say $500 total.
- Jacket: I prefer a tailored jacket and the one I am replacing cost $700 a decade ago. It’s a street garment and I coped without it last year – while I missed it a lot, it’s become a nice to have rather than a necessity. A warm jacket looks to be in the region of $500.
- Pencil Skirt: I used to wear them a lot and I miss them. The right one could also meet all my outfit needs, so it’s sort of a dress backup at the moment; say $150. (I’ll never forget seeing my mother in a pencil skirt, twinset, tights and short ugg boots.)
I know that is actually $1,300, but should I be able to source it all, my annual budget can take it. Particularly given summer’s comprehensive shop and that my winter outerwear will be fine for many years to come.
However, I don’t think I will be able to buy my full wish list this year and may have to make some compromises. I’ll let you know how it goes.
How are your winter wardrobe plans coming along?
I put this wardrobe together using the techniques I discuss in my book Build Your Signature Wardrobe. It describes how to set a reasonable budget, decide what clothes are appropriate for your current life, how to present your authentic self confidently and consistently, and which clothes and accessories (and how many) you need.
Click here to see some example outfits.